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And I’m back with a new installment of this uninformative, yet space filling series!

Kisaragi musô ken / きさらぎ無双剣 / Kisaragi Sword (1962)

Jidaigeki trading cards? Sounds like a great idea!

Kisaragi musô ken / きさらぎ無双剣 / Kisaragi Sword (1962)
Director: Sasaki Yasushi
Cast: Ichikawa Utaemon, Kotaro Satomi, Matsukata Hiroki, Wakayama Tomisaburo, Konoe Jushiro, Azuma Chiyonosuke, Yamagata Isao, Arima Koji, Hori Masao

Rindo Tsukinosuke is a secret agent of mysterious origin. Sakon Takada is a booze loving Hatamoto. Itsuzume-kozo is a sneaky yakuza-ninja-hybrid who has just gotten out of jail. Hayatomasa Tachibana is a nice-guy samurai fencing master. These four dudes work together to crack a plot to overthrow the shogun.

The Good Stuff:
– An eventful story, unique enough not to be redundant

The Best Stuff:
– Holy crap that’s one crazy lineup!
– Mister Utaemon being all Ichikawa Utaemon on everyone
– A great controlled final fight scene with the top 5 stars in it

Shokin kasegi / 賞金稼ぎ / Killer's Mission (1969)

Wakayama Tomisaburo, the chubby mustachiod sword swinging wonder

Shokin kasegi / 賞金稼ぎ / Killer’s Mission (1969)
Director: Ozawa Shigehiro
Cast: Wakayama Tomisaburo, Kataoka Chiezo, Tsuruta Koji, Amatsu Bin

Ichiro (Wakayama) is a Tokugawa spy sent to Satsuma to foil the clan’s plot to start a war and overthrow the Shogunate. The Satsuma are trying to smuggle in new guns that would give them an advantage in battle, but Ichiro, probably the James Bond of his day, is up to the task.

The Good Stuff:
– Wakayama parodies Zatoichi (played by his brother, Katsu Shintaro) in a couple of scenes
– A little bit of history in this one, although.. uhh.. not much unless you feel like researching

The Best Stuff:
– Wakayama in his chubby days with a noticeable and distinctive mustache!
– Lots of people getting chopped to bits

Adauchi / 仇討 / Revenge (1964)

He's not gonna get away running like that

Adauchi / 仇討 / Revenge (1964)
Director: Imai Tadashi
Cast: Nakamura Kinnosuke, Tamba Tetsurô, Mishima Masao, Shindô Eitarô

Ezaki Shinpei is a lowly samurai retainer involved in the maintenance of the clan’s gear. One day, Magodayu, a government inspector, insults the cleanliness of the clan’s spears, and Ezaki rebukes him, earning his ire. Magodayu challenges him to a duel, and Ezaki duly dispatches of the inspector. Unfortunately, Ezaki’s low status betrays him.

The Good Stuff:
– Lots of leftist criticism about the government and tradition if you’re into that sort of thing
– Nakamura tries to be all Nakadai-ish

The Best Stuff:
– The focus on brotherhood and inheritance is a unique angle
– Great wiiiiiide picture

Tengu-to / 天狗党 / Blood End (1969)

Eventually you'll start to feel like Tamba Tetsuro is behind every chambara plot, EVER

Tengu-to / 天狗党 / Blood End (1969)
Director: Yamamoto Satsuo
Cast: Nakadai Tatsuya, Wakao Ayako, Kato Go, Nakamura Kanemon,

Small-time farmer Sentaro learns how to use a sword and joins the Mito tengu group. It doesn’t take long, however, for Sentaro to become disillusioned with the Mito tengu and their increasingly political nature. Politics sucks, and the ideologies that back them are even worse, he soon discovers.

The Good Stuff:
– Imperialist/revolutionary ideological dichotomy explored more than in other films

The Best Stuff:
– Probably one of the most politically focused jidaigeki I’ve seen
– Political soliloquys?! Yeah really. And a lot of them. Only great if you like that stuff, I guess!

Obozu tengu / お坊主天狗 / Demon Priest (1962)

In this film: samurai. Not in this film: demons, priests, nor demon priests. Good job with the title boys

Obozu tengu / お坊主天狗 / Demon Priest (1962)
Director: Yasushi Sasaki
Cast: Kataoka Chiezo, Okawa Hashizo, Otomo Ryutaro, Misora Hibari, Yamagata Isao, Mishima Masao, Shindô Eitarô

Okay, honestly I don’t remember what happened in this movie. All I remember is Kichisaburo (Kataoka) wants revenge against Honda (Mishima), Kosome (Misora) wants revenge on Tokaiya (Shindô), and Shinzaburo (Okawa) is an eccentric sword expert. The title honestly doesn’t make sense, too.

The Good Stuff:
– Misora Hibari as a girl for a change
– Lots of revengings to go around

The Best Stuff:
– Okawa Hashizo as an eccentric sword expert is hilarious for some reason
– Kataoka Chiezo is always, always a character you cheer for



December 2009
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